If you are hurt at work, your employer’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance pays for your lost wages and medical bills. Because your medical and lost wages are paid by Workers’ Compensation regardless of how you were hurt, you can’t sue your employer/co-workers, even if they were negligent. So… is that all there is? In many cases, the answer is yes - there is no recovery for any damages outside of Workers’ Compensation. But sometimes, the injured worker can recover for damages in addition to Workers’ Compensation… this is called a 3rd Party Case.
How do you get around the limitation on what you can recover when you’re hurt at work? There must be a 3rd Party involved in the incident – not your employer or co-workers – and your injuries must have been caused by the negligence of that 3rd Party. Here’s a classic example: you are a delivery driver and you are hurt while making deliveries when another driver runs a red light and hits you. In this case, you will get your medical expenses and lost wages paid by your employer’s Workers Compensation Insurance… but you can also sue the other driver – the 3rd Party – for your injuries. The damages you can recover in this 3rd Party Case may go beyond what you can get only through Workers’ Compensation to include things like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.
The key to recovery of damages beyond Workers’ Compensation is the existence of a 3rd party involved in the incident. In the delivery driver case above, it’s clear cut who the 3rd Party is. However, in many situations it’s not so clear, such as slip and fall cases, accidents at a construction site, manufacturing accidents and so on. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced in investigating and litigating these 3rd Party Cases.
Please Contact MCV Law to Discuss How We Can Help You.
There is a significant interplay between your Workers’ Compensation benefits and a recovery in a 3rd Party Case, and injured workers are best served by a firm that has expertise in both areas of the law. We have attorneys who handle these matters every day and who can guide you toward the best possible outcome for your case.